2 Samuel 16:15-23
Joshua 24:1-13 – The Covenant Renewed at Shechem. This retelling of Israel’s life story brings out the pathway chosen by the Patriarchs. Abraham chose to believe in the Lord’s promise and because of it, the land of Canaan was inherited by the generation who conquered the land. Because of Moses and Aaron’s faith in the Lord, the people were escorted out of slavery to become an autonomous nation. Balaam’s prophecy could have been a “curse” that would have doomed the nation but the Lord changed Balaam’s mind through the presence of the Lord’s power. Oreb and Zeeb were two of the most prominent and powerful kings on the eastern side of Jordan but by standing in faith with the Lord the puny nation conquered them and took over the work of their hands. On the western side, nations that were much more powerful than Israel were defeated and the land was parceled out to the tribes for an inheritance. The reason for retelling this story was to enforce in their mind who it was that led them so that they would not become proud. Part of the reason for us getting caught in Satan’s snare is that we do not remember our past nor the work of our ancestors which compels us to become proud and arrogant.
Psalms 84 – My Soul Longs for the Courts of the Lord. Every animal has a hiding place. In the same way, we too have a hiding place or a place of rest and that is in the court of the Master. To rest in His Kingdom requires that we be obedient to His laws and precepts. His Kingdom is not an escape from the consequences of our actions and nor is it an excuse to commit sin. Only when we realize that our strength does not come from our skillset, possessions, and/or connections but from the hand of the Lord, will we not fear the future. The Valley of Baca means “valley of weeping”. In life, we will have trouble but when our heart is set on the Lord and He is on the throne of our life, we understand that the troubles and weeping are momentary (5-7, John 16:33, Valley of Baca). When we are in the midst of storms, it is very difficult to see two feet in front of us much less the hand of the Lord. The Devil uses storms to confuse us and get us to think “the Lord doesn’t exist, I’m believing in a lie”. Yet if we can just hold onto faith, the storms will end and the sun will shine again. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge His presence and He will guide you home (Proverbs 3:4-5).
Ecclesiastes 6 – Vanity. In life, we have many opportunities to amass things and become wealthy. Yet if we do not amass the Lord’s peace in our life, all of the stuff becomes useless. The term “instant gratification” comes to mind in this segment because we are enamored by the item until the bill comes due and then we consider which has more value. The item will fall apart or become something else to store in the home, the bill will cause restless nights and moments of tension especially when the money is not available. Vanity has been a prevalent part of humanity for countless generations. Vanity is at the core of commercialism because it shows the bad situation being “very bad” and the good “being unfathomable”. Why does it do that? Because it brings out the deepest part of the heart of man. Only when we become satisfied with who we are, where we are in life, and the limitations imposed on us by our body only then will we be at peace with ourselves. The only real power we are granted is the ability to control ourselves by making quality choices and finding joy in the days we are given.
Isaiah 22:1-14 – An Oracle Concerning Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s destruction in the years leading up to the exile was not part of G-d’s plans. Isaiah was sent to warn the people but they would not listen because the trouble had not yet come to fruition. To preclude being captured, the king and his escorts would drill a hole in the wall of Jerusalem and escape into the night. Because of this, the city would be thrown into confusion and like sheep without a shepherd. Again the people laughed about this because the city was secure and had no concern for the future. The hedge of protection that had surrounded the city (8) was due to the prayers of David and his quest to serve the Lord. The populace of Jerusalem basked in the power of David but did not fully commit to the Lord. In the same way, in the time of Jesus, many followed him wherever he would go but few put their trust and hope in the Lord. So when the hedge was removed, the full power and might of the Devil would come in. The “weapons in the house in the forest” were placed there by Solomon as a line of defense. Again the people thought the weapons would save them without considering who planned it long ago. The power of the Lord is made perfect in weakness, not in the strength of the horse or the power of the chariot (2 Corinthians 12:9).
2 Samuel 16:15-23 – Absalom Enters Jerusalem. Having started his reign at Hebron and now in Jerusalem, Absalom had followed his father’s tracks. What Absalom did was wrong on many levels and violated G-d’s laws and would end badly for him all who followed him. Ahithophel, as I mentioned yesterday, was out for vengeance. By having sex with his father’s concubines, Absalom was defying David and the law of the Lord (Repulsive actions). While the prophecy uttered by Nathan to David said this would happen, he did not say what would become of the man who did it. Ahithophel was known for being wise and his suggestions helped David because they sounded like something G-d would say. There’s a problem in this puzzle because although it seemed like a “perfect coup”, the demon called “Vendetta” altered the pieces and signed Absalom’s death warrant.